Author Interviews, Books

Quest for Honor: An Author Interview With David Tindell

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About the Book

“I love the name of honor, more than I fear death.” Julius Caesar.

Jim Hayes lives a quiet life in Wisconsin, training in martial arts and studying the warrior ethos. Unable to prevent the murder of his wife six years earlier, Jim is determined that the next time he is called upon to act, things will be different, and he can restore the sense of honor he believes he has lost.

His estranged brother Mark, an Army colonel commanding a firebase in the mountains of Afghanistan, sees his career winding down and wonders what lies in store when he comes home. After years of dedicated service to his country, he fears nothing else will measure up when he removes the uniform for the last time.

In lawless Somalia, al Qaeda chieftain Yusuf Shalita, tired of endless jihad, has decided to defect, in one last attempt at redemption. But Shalita has only met one American he has ever trusted, so he tells the CIA he will surrender himself to Jim Hayes, his old friend from their college days in Wisconsin. That demand will bring the Hayes brothers back together in a way they never imagined, as they fight to prevent a new and devastating terror attack on the very heart of America.

Where to purchase Quest for Honor?

Amazon – Kindle, Amazon – Paperback and B&N – Paperback

Interview with the Author:

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1) Tell us something about yourself.

I was born into a wealthy family in a large American city, but lost my parents tostreet mugging at age 7. Raised in our large home by the family butler, I dedicated my life to avenging my parents and protecting the innocent….Wait, no, that’s another guy.

My start was a little more prosaic and not nearly as tragic. I was born in Germany, where my father was stationed while serving in the Army. I was raised in southern Wisconsin and attended college at UW-Platteville, my parents’ alma mater, majoring in broadcasting with the goal of becoming the announcer for a big league pro team. But life often takes some unexpected turns, and so it was I found myself living in northwest Wisconsin, in a log home on a lake with my wife, a Yorkie and two cats, working for the US Government by day, and by night training in the martial arts, studying foreign languages and writing thriller novels.

2) What got you into writing?

I was inspired by two great English teachers when I was growing up in Potosi, a beautiful little town on the Mississippi in the southwest corner of Wisconsin. Mrs. Millman and Mrs. Leonard, I am forever indebted to you for introducing me to literature and teaching me how to write. Mr. Peake, thanks for your geography class, which introduced me to foreign lands and cultures. My first novel, still unpublished and probably deservedly so, is about a time traveler going back two millennia to ensure the crucifixion of Christ. I put the pen aside for some time while raising two kids and then starting my martial arts training, but in the last ten years or so I’ve been able to take up the pen (actually a keyboard) once again. The results are two thriller novels published and more on the way.

3) Do you face writer’s block? How do you overcome it?

I don’t know of a writer who hasn’t faced it. My way of overcoming it is to stick to the plan. In other words, the outline I have already done for the work-in-progress. Some outlines are very detailed, others bare-bones. I lean toward the latter approach. I know what the story is going to be about, how I want it to begin and end, and the challenge is getting from point A to point B. Some writers just flail away and go back later to clean it up, but I tend to wait till I have a clear path in mind for a particular chapter. Oddly enough, the dam usually cracks while I’m swimming. Three mornings a week I begin my day with a trip to our municipal indoor pool, and I can always count on an idea to arrive while I’m in the water. When I get to my office I jot it down and get after it that evening.

4) Tell us something about your book.

Quest for Honor’s genesis came to me several years ago. I was reading a news story about a Westerner who had been kidnaped by Islamic terrorists in the Middle East and whose execution was being showcased on their website. It was terrifying and gruesome, and I thought to myself, What would I do if that was me? The story that came out of that is about Jim Hayes, a widower from southern Wisconsin who was unable to prevent the murder of his pregnant wife several years earlier. Since then he has trained in the martial arts and studied the warrior ethos, preparing for the next time he will be called upon to act, when he hopes he will be able to regain the honor he believes he has lost. Jim’s younger brother Mark is an Army officer commanding a firebase in Afghanistan. The brothers have grown apart since their parents’ deaths.

Mark is facing his own challenges, as his retirement from the military is looming and he is very unsure about life as a civilian. He wonders if he will be able to keep the sense of honor he has found in uniform. They’re going to be brought together in a way neither could ever have imagined. In Somalia, an al-Qaeda chieftain has tired of jihad and decides to defect to the Americans. The terrorist has intelligence about an imminent and very devastating attack on the US homeland, but he tells the CIA that he has only met one American he has ever trusted, a man of honor he met years ago while attending university in Wisconsin, a guy named Jim Hayes. Bring him here and I will surrender myself, he says. So Jim gets his chance at redemption, but things don’t go according to plan.

5) Why did you choose to write about this?

I have been studying the warrior ethos and the concept of honor, and those are the overall themes of the book. What is a warrior? How does one become a warrior, and are they really necessary anymore? I think events in the world since the start of the 21st century have shown us that we certainly still need them, perhaps now more than ever.

A true, ethical warrior has a sense of personal honor that supports not just himself but his group. Honor checks our narcissism, builds community, creates meaning. Without it, nobody cares what you do. Merit goes unnoticed, good goes unrewarded, evil goes unpunished. Without honor a society is eventually overtaken by mediocrity, corruption and incompetence. I think we are getting dangerously close to that in modern-day America and the West. Our adversaries have a sense of honor, albeit one that in our view is twisted and morally corrupt, but they are at the gates and we had better do

something about it. We desperately need ethical warriors. The book is about Jim’s quest to become one.

6) Describe your book in one sentence.

To restore your honor, how far would you go?

7) What are you working on next?

My first novel, The White Vixen, was published in 2012, and I am now working on its sequel, The Red Wolf. My protagonist is Jo Ann Geary, a Korean-American martial artist and linguist who serves in an Air Force special operations unit. The first book takes place in 1982, when she is tasked by the CIA and British intelligence to go undercover in South America to discover the real reason why Argentina is going to war with Britain over the Falkland Islands. She discovers a threat that was thought to be long dead, a chess master who is moving the pieces toward World War III. The sequel takes place five years later. Geary is now a member of a new special ops unit, Pallas Group, and their first mission is to travel behind the Iron Curtain to prevent the assassination of Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachev by a rogue KGB operative.

8) Which are your favorite books?

In my high school English class, Mrs. Leonard assigned us Alas Babylon by Pat Frank. It was about a small Florida town in the late 1950s that survives a nuclear war.

The town’s residents are ordinary people thrust into a very extraordinary situation, and that started me thinking seriously about writing stories about those types of people. I’ve read a ton of thriller novels and would be hard-pressed to name the best of them, although if pressed I would have to say Tom Clancy’s The Hunt for Red October, along with Gates of Fire by Steven Pressfield, a truly epic book about the battle of Thermopylae in ancient Greece. As for inspirational books, the Bible is at the top, of course, but I must also cite the biographical trilogy on the life of Theodore Roosevelt, one of my personal heroes, written by Edmund Morris: The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt, Theodore Rex and Colonel Roosevelt. Great books about a great man, written by a great writer.

9) Who are your favorite authors?

I really enjoyed the early, original work of Tom Clancy, who is rightly credited with being the father of the modern techno-thriller. The best series I’ve read is by David Poyer, whose protagonist is Dan Lenson, a young officer in the US Navy. Poyer first introduces us to Lenson when he’s fresh out of Annapolis in the mid-70s, assigned to a destroyer about to embark on a routine mission to the Arctic Ocean that turns very dangerous on many levels. A dozen or so novels later we find Lenson at the Pentagon on 9/11, and I’m anxious to read the latest installment, which is due soon. Close behind that is the Scot Harvath series by Brad Thor, whom I had the pleasure to meet recently, and the Bob Lee Swagger books by Stephen Hunter. I also enjoy the work of Vince Flynn and Barry Eisler. I’ve mentioned Steven Pressfield, whose work brings the ancient world to vivid life, plus the Cork O’Connor mysteries of William Kent Krueger. As for non-fiction, I’ve cited Morris, and I also really like the work of Dick Couch, Stephen Ambrose and Doris Kearns Goodwin. Last but certainly not least, I recommend the work of Marcus Brotherton, and I’m pleased and honored to be on his team of “allies” for the release of his first novel very soon.

10) Where could we find your book? Will it be available in other countries as well?

Both of my novels are available as print and e-book on Amazon, at http://bit.ly/questforhonor and http://bit.ly/WhtVxn. Print copies are in bookstores up here, but that might be a hike for many of your readers. You can also check out my website, www.davidtindellauthor.com.

This interview is a part of the Quest For Honor Book Tour. It was supposed to be out yesterday, so appologies for posting it a bit late..

 

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